Disgraced assistant AG has ties to local cases

DETROIT (AP) — A state prosecutor resigned after authorities learned “incredibly disturbing” news that he had an intimate relationship with a woman while handling her allegations of sexual assault downstate, Michigan’s attorney general said Tuesday. The assistant attorney general in question, Brian Kolodziej, also has ties to cases in Delta County where he was prosecuting four men on criminal sexual conduct charges.

All his cases are being reviewed and reassiigned — including the Delta County cases.

Kolodziej was the prosecutor in a case involving students at Central Michigan University in Mount Pleasant. Ian Elliott, a former student government president, pleaded no contest to third-degree criminal sexual conduct in Isabella County and began serving a year in prison in August.

State police last week informed Attorney General Dana Nessel that Kolodziej was having a relationship with the victim while the case was pending earlier this year. A criminal investigation is underway, and a complaint has been filed with the Attorney Grievance Commission.

It was “absolutely outside the bounds of what a prosecutor can do during the course of a case,” Nessel told reporters. “To say that I am horrified, to say that I’m disgusted is really an understatement. In over 25 years of practice in criminal law, both as prosecutor and defense attorney, I have never before even heard of a situation like this. … This was incredibly disturbing.”

Nessel wouldn’t say whether Elliott’s conviction should be thrown out. She said she plans to talk to defense attorney Joe Barberi.

“We are going to review every aspect of that case and every aspect of any case that Mr. Kolodziej touched in any manner,” Nessel said.

Kolodziej was prosecuting two criminal sexual conduct cases that involved four individuals in Delta County Circuit Court, as well.

One criminals sexual conduct case involved Hunter Grizz Gallagher, 18, of Gladstone, and Dylan Michael-Patrick McDonough, 19, of Gladstone. Gallagher is also charged in the other case being prosecuted by Kolodziej.

Both Gallagher and McDonough took plea deals and were to be sentenced Sept. 18.

McDonough pleaded no contest to one count criminal sexual conduct – second degree. Gallagher pleaded guilty to criminal sexual conduct – third degree. The charges stem from an incident in June 2017 in Gladstone.

Gallagher was also involved in another criminal sexual conduct case where he took a plea deal and was to be sentenced Sept. 18.

In this case, Gallagher pleaded guilty to criminal sexual conduct – third degree.

The charges stem from an incident in August 2018 in Masonville Township. Two other teens faced charges from this incident — Tanner James-Arthur Cannon, 17, of Gladstone, and James Michael Greenlund, 19, of Rapid River.

Cannon is charged with criminal sexual conduct – first degree. He took a plea deal early on, involving him testifying in the other cases. He won’t be sentenced until after the other defendants involved are sentenced.

Greenlund is charged with one count of criminal sexual conduct – first degree and one count of criminal sexual conduct – third degree. He was scheduled for a motions hearing on Sept. 19 and his trial was scheduled to begin Oct. 22.

Kolodziej, 41, couldn’t be reached for comment. The former TV and film actor joined the attorney general’s office in 2018, before Nessel took office in January.

Barberi said the news was a “bombshell.” In court, he had accused Kolodziej of being unethical and overly zealous during the case. He noted that the attorney general’s office decided to pursue Elliott in 2018 after local prosecutors dropped charges.

“He had an agenda on getting a conviction,” Barberi said.

Barberi said Elliott insisted he had consensual sex with the woman after meeting her at a bar in 2016 but pleaded no contest due to mounting legal bills and adverse pretrial rulings about evidence. A second case involving another woman was dismissed as part of the plea bargain, but both women spoke as victims at sentencing.